It can span months or years leading up to menopause but understanding the symptoms and working with your provider will help diagnose you as perimenopausal.
If you’re in your thirties or forties, and you’re experiencing frustrating symptoms such as insomnia, heat flashes, and mood swings, you might be perimenopausal. Perimenopause, the span of months or years leading up to menopause, ushers in quite a few less-than-desirable symptoms. These symptoms can help your healthcare provider make the diagnosis that you have begun your transition to menopause.
Because perimenopause is a gradual process, no single symptom or test is enough to determine if you’re perimenopausal. In addition to common perimenopausal symptoms, your provider will likely take your age and menstrual history into consideration.
Your provider may perform a blood test to evaluate hormone levels to confirm that you are perimenopausal. But, because your hormone levels are constantly changing throughout perimenopause, you may need several blood tests to determine whether or not you’ve begun the transition to menopause.
Once diagnosed with perimenopause you may have a lot of questions, and it’s important to discuss those with your healthcare provider. Some common questions include:
- Can I still get pregnant during perimenopause? Yes, despite a decline in your fertility during the perimenopause stage. However, this decline in fertility may make it more difficult to get pregnant. If you don’t wish to become pregnant, you should use a form of birth control.
- How long will perimenopause last? According to ACOG, perimenopause can last up to ten years. While some women only experience the symptoms for a few months, the average length is about four years.
- When will perimenopause end? Perimenopause ends when you have gone 12 months without getting your period. At this point, you will enter menopause.
For more information on the symptoms of perimenopause, read this resource.